Weekly Safety Meeting – Heart Attacks

According to the Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2023 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association, in the United States someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds. Every year, about 805,000 people in the United States have a heart attack. Of these, 605,000 are a first heart attack. 200,000 happen to people who have already had a heart attack. About 1 in 5 heart attacks are silent – the damage is done, but the person is not aware of it.

Heart disease and heart attacks are an unfortunate reality in our country.

There is a good chance that sometime in your lifetime, you will witness someone suffer from a heart attack or you yourself will be a victim.

It is important to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. It is equally important to know what to do if someone around you is having a heart attack.

Recognizing an emergency and getting the individual the proper care quickly can mean the difference between life and death.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack:

Recognizing the warning signs of a heart attack could save someone’s life. Be aware of the major symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint. You may also break out into a cold sweat.
  • Pain or discomfort in the upper body, jaw, neck, back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders.
  • Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort, but shortness of breath also happens before chest discomfort.

Other symptoms of a heart attack could include unusual or unexplained tiredness and nausea or vomiting. Women are more likely to have these other symptoms.

Not all of these must be present to be a heart attack. Pay attention to your body and what it is telling you. If you think you or someone around you is displaying heart attack symptoms, do not brush them off.

What to Do If Someone Has a Heart Attack:

If someone is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, be sure to take the appropriate steps to mitigate the effects of blood loss to the brain.

Call 911. Even if it ends up not being a heart attack, it is truly better to be safe than sorry. Getting the proper medical attention quickly for a heart attack victim is his or her best chance to live. The sooner you get to an emergency room, the sooner you can get treatment to reduce the amount of damage to the heart muscle. At the hospital, health care professionals can run tests to find out if a heart attack is happening and decide the best treatment.

In some cases, a heart attack requires cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or an electrical shock (defibrillation) to the heart to get the heart pumping again. Bystanders trained to use CPR, or a defibrillator, may be able to help until emergency medical personnel arrive.


Take heart attack symptoms seriously. We know most of the people we work with pretty well. If something seems wrong, talk to the person, or get a supervisor involved.

Know your emergency response plan at your worksite for a medical emergency like a heart attack. Knowing whom to call, what the address of the worksite is, and who is CPR trained onsite can save the victim’s life.

Remember, the chances of surviving a heart attack are better the sooner emergency treatment begins.


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